One such custom that I've seen at virtually every type of Jewish wedding, from the most to the left to the most to the right, is the playing of the Misirlou for a circle dance for the women. And this is one custom that truly has me scratching my head. Ask the guests at these weddings where the song came from and 99 out of 100 answers are going to be "It's an old Yiddish folk tune from somewhere in Europe." Oh boy, not.
Now granted, I know that the tune happens to have Yiddish words (first written about 1940)that go with the melody but there is no way that those lyrics are going to be sung at a Jewish wedding, certainly not at a frum wedding. Never mind how I learned those lyrics, but putting it in neutral terms, they are about the unrequited love of a man for his Eastern princess, hardly the thoughts we want to be encouraging in a choson at his chasoneh. I did some searching online and found the lyrics in Yiddish published in many places. As a "public service" I'm publishing one verse. The following verse is typical of the whole song.
Miserlou mayne, meydle fun orient,
Di oygn dayne hobn mayn harts farbrent.
Mayn harts vert a kranke,in khyulem ze ikh dikh,
Tants far mir shlanke
Drey zikh geshvind gikh.
While there is a lot of back and forthing among music historians about the exact origins of the melody, most people credit the Greeks with the version most popular today. Even if they based the melody on a folk tune of the Middle East (the "miser" being pronounced "mitzer" in Greek from the word "Mitzrim" or Egyptian), they created the dance that is traditionally done to the tune. So popular is the song "out there" that it was even featured in the movie "Pulp Fiction." **
So, we have a Jewish wedding minhag of a melody and dance that is Greek referencing an Egyptian temptress. And I'd be willing to bet that some people would tell me I'm wrong, wrong, wrong because this tune came from "in der heim." And just where did those "in der heim" get it? Ah, heresy! No questioning of minhagim allowed, full stop.
**Note: there are those who believe that the melody/lyrics arrived to Ashkenazic Europe via Sefardim from the Middle East who would have been familiar with the melody there.